Category Archives: critique

NEW: Morgen’s Monday Mentorship!

Are you stuck on your story, novel, poem or non-fiction piece and want expert help?

On 19th March 2018, I created a mentorship group on Facebook offering a dedicated two-hour Q&A where you can pick my brains, with the opportunity for group chat the rest of the week.

It’s a subscription-only closed group with a one-off £20 / US$20 / AS$20 / €20 fee (via PayPal (to fee. This includes a free full edit on up to 2,000 words (see Editing and Critique) which you can send me at any time (after you’ve subscribed of course).

Once you have paid the one-off fee, go to the group ( and ask to join and I will add you.

Every Monday* evening (7.30pm to 9.30pm UK time), I will be your mentor for a two-hour live session when you can ask me anything you like about writing!

Of course it doesn’t stop you asking questions at other times (by creating a new comment) but it won’t be live so you may have to wait for answers. I will keep an eye on the thread and post at least one reply to each comment before the following Monday.

The sooner you subscribe, the more mentorship you receive within the group! I do offer one-to-one email mentorship but there is an extra fee (see the Editing and Critique page).

*There will be occasions when I’m unable to be at my desk on a Monday evening, e.g. when I’m booked to do a ‘real’ talk but I will be available the day before or day after (i.e. the Sunday or Tuesday) at the same time, 7.30pm to 9.30pm.


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Book review – for readers and writers – no.173: Morgen Bailey reviews Holmes: The Darlington Substitution by Melvyn Small

Today’s book review of a novella is brought to you by yours truly, Morgen Bailey. I no longer take requests for reviews but you’re welcome to send me your book review of another author’s book, see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.

Being a writer and editor, I read and review books with both hats. If you’re a writer reading this review and found it useful, do let me know.

Holmes: The Darlington Substitution by Melvyn Small

Synopsis: With Watson’s literary career going from strength to strength, he secures a slot on local radio to publicise his new book.  Uncertain as how to well it went, he is still a little surprised when the recording isn’t broadcast. Although disappointed, he disregards this snub to his confidence as a peculiar but unimportant bend in the path of his literary career.

Sherlock Holmes is not so dismissive. He seizes upon the event, certain that there is more to this rebuff than meets the eye. He grills Watson to the content of his interview, convinced a key fact will reveal all. There is nothing. Watson is sure off that. An investigation ensues that takes Holmes to the end of the known world, a place just near Thirsk.

The Darlington Substitution is a retrospective account, occurring during the same time as the adventures chronicled in Holmes Volume 2. It sees Holmes at the height of his wisecracking, foulmouthed, law disregarding deductive brilliance.

This novella is available in chapter segments via with more information at


Melvyn Small is an author and the founder of Indipenned, a website that champions the work of independent literature. Thus far he has written two books, Holmes Volume 1 and the imaginatively titled follow up Holmes Volume 2 (Subsequently republished by Fahrenheit Press as the Victor Locke Chronicles).

Mel’s perhaps unique spin on Sherlock Holmes, which places the character in a different time, location and section of society, has found fans around the world and is fast becoming a cult classic.  His writing style is pacey and littered with gin-dry humour. It has been described as “hilarious, clever and hugely enjoyable.”  The Darlington Substitution novella is his longest story so far and perhaps his best work to date.


As a crime fan, I love a murder mystery. Although my preference is for contemporary – not a fan of anything before the 1980s (I’m a late sixties baby) – I know the Holmes and Watson stories well enough, albeit from the television more than the written word. As an editor, I’m a tough crowd but was soon won over. During Watson’s first encounter (other than with Holmes), he’s invited to download another author’s book so I knew I was in even more familiar territory.

The swearing near the start might put off the more sensitive of readers but it’s far from indicative of the story or quality of the writing. You don’t have to be a Holmes efficienado but I smiled as there were familiar names (the Twisted Lip pub to name one).

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Posted by on March 8, 2018 in critique, ebooks, novels, review, writing


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Coming tomorrow…

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Posted by on March 7, 2018 in critique, ebooks, events, novels, review, writing


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Morgen’s March’s free 100-word competition is now open!

*** PLEASE check your word count (100 words exactly – no more, no less – EXcluding title) and do submit more than one story to give yourself a better chance of being placed. ***

Hello everyone. Yes, February’s competition is closed, with the results due to be announced on (or before) Friday 9th March. The theme for March is ‘superstitious’ which you can now submit and any time during until Saturday 31st March (midnight UK time).

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Seeking marketing guru / writer

Hello everyone. I’m looking for someone who has a proven successful track record in marketing, ideally books. Other than touting my eBooks on their free days, I do no marketing and I’d like that to change… or rather not me doing the marketing but someone who is an expert in that field.

Being self-employed however, I have very limited funds. I’m therefore looking to swap skills, i.e. they are also a writer so I do their ediitng (see Editing and Critique for my testimonials) while they do my marketing.

Could this be you? If so, please email me at with details of your services.

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Posted by on February 8, 2018 in critique, ebooks


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